FDA to ban caffeine in alcoholic beverages

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Alcoholic drinks
with a shot of caffeine have become more and more popular on college campuses and also among underage teen drinkers. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not yet okayed caffeine for use in alcoholic drinks nor have they found it to be dangerous.

Some of the businesses targeted are Constellation Brands Inc (STZ.N), which makes the drink Wide Eye, and the North American unit of Diageo plc (DGE.L) (DEO.N), which makes Smirnoff Raw Tea

The companies have been given 30 days to show that their drinks are not dangerous to their customers, or the FDA will be obligated to take additional legal action. The beverages have been marketed using social media sites like Twitter, says The New York Times. These drinks have already been approved by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade bureau and will provide the beverage companies with a defense against the allegations.

“Under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, a substance added intentionally to food (such as caffeine in alcoholic beverages) is deemed “unsafe” and is unlawful unless its particular use has been approved by FDA regulation, the substance is subject to a prior sanction, or the substance is Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS),” says the alert.

College drinkers are the primary demographic for marketing of highly caffeinated drinks like Red Bull. Caffeine has not been approved for use at any level in alcoholic beverages, the FDA noted. Caffeine has been approved for use in soft drinks in concentrations of no greater than 200 parts per million. The market for caffeinated alcoholic drinks is about 1 percent of the total beer industry

The FDA also noted that in the past year, Anheuser-Busch and Miller agreed to stop selling their popular caffeinated alcoholic beverages — Tilt, Bud Extra, and Sparks — and agreed not to produce any caffeinated alcoholic beverages in the future.


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